One of Bangkok's leading underground DJs Satika Rapimsamrong AKA DJ Mendy Indigo will be celebrating her birthday with a charity event during a special edition of her Dark & Dirty party series. The aim is to raise funds for her former school Ban Nang Rern in her hometown in the Nakhon Ratchasima province.
Punters will get get to party with some of Bangkok’s finest including Dan Buri, Elaheh, Koish, Kuroten, Sunju Hargun, Tim Roemer, X0809 and Mendy herself. Funds collected from the cover charge will be donated to acquire supplies and playground toys for the school.
“The school was a nice getaway for me. It made me forget all our struggles that we had back then,” Mendy explains why Ban Nang Rern is still important to her.
The Thai talent tells us more about her charity event, her fond memories of school and her passion for food.
It’s a very generous move to celebrate your birthday with a charity event, can you tell us more about it?
My birthday is actually on June 16th but it’s just a good excuse to invite my friends to come to the charity event. The charity aspect should definitely be the focus and not my birthday. When I was young, I went to kindergarten and school at Ban Nang Rern. The school is really small with around 120 students from four villages and since I left, more than 15 years ago, I haven’t been back or supported them in any way.
When I went back to my hometown last month, I spoke to my first teacher who is also our neighbour. She told me that they will open a new class for children from three to four years old and that they need some toys for the playground. I instantly felt like I should give something back to support them.
That’s why I am organizing this party and invited all my friends to get involved to raise funds so we can buy new playground toys for the kids. We have a line up of eight DJs for the night and some support from the local media as well, which I'm really grateful for.
Can you share some of your fond experience when you were schooling at Ban Nang Rern?
The school was a nice getaway for me. It made me forget all our struggles that we had back then. I learned a lot of things from this school as much as a kid could learn. Even my music career started there. My teacher taught me how to sing Thai traditional music and how to play local instruments. I then joined music competitions with other schools in the same district. Besides that, I was honoured to be selected to sing the national anthem every morning, which is a tradition in all Thai schools.
How would you like Dark & Dirty evolve in the future?
I started Dark & Dirty with the intention of providing a platform for local electronic artists to showcase their music to different crowds and give DJs with raw talent a chance to recognize their potential. I want to develop the brand for the future and hopefully engage people to be part of our Dark & Dirty events . It's not about making money but rather to support our local scene.
Speaking of learning, how did you start learning to spin? What were the basic gear did you start with?
Thankfully I went on a trip to Nepal to visit my friends from Germany, who then introduced me to electronic music. That was the first time I heard electronic music and I fell in love with it since then. When I came back to Thailand, I asked my friend TJ Tiesjungle to teach me how to mix as he was also playing electronic music.
At the beginning, it was not that easy for me as I didn't have the money to buy my own equipment, so I had to borrow the Traktor Kontrol S4 from my friends and even the laptop I had was borrowed from my neighbour. Later on Glow Club in Bangkok offered me a residency, so I had to learn to play with CDJs. Luckily I was allowed to use their equipment to practice, so Glow has been my training ground.
When you first started out, what was the best advice anyone gave you and what was the worst that you received?
Best: Get your shit together, focus and do your best everyday.
Worst: You should wear something sexy to get more bookings.
Being women DJs in Asia is still different than in Europe. A lot of promoters here still believe in using sex appeal to promote them. How do you think we can change the mindset?
It’s difficult to change someone’s mindset, therefore the best way to do something about it is to start with yourself. I want people to see me through my music and not my looks. So I don’t really wear sexy clothes because that’s just not me. Let the music represent yourself and I believe that there are enough people out there who support artists because of their music rather than their appearances.
Luckily most of the techno and house promoters don’t really care how a DJ looks, they book the artists because they like their music. And for all the promoters and people who go to a party to see a female DJ because of her looks isn’t the place I’m aiming for anyway.
Who are some of the DJs that have influenced your career so far?
Back in 2011 I watched a video of Magda’s set at Love Family Park 2010. The way she mixed, the sound she played and especially the crowd reaction mesmerized me right away. I thought to myself, wow I really want to play in front of so many people too.
Another DJ who influenced me is Nakadia. We’ve known each other for a while and we come from similar family backgrounds. I admire not only how she has evolved, but how she uses her success to support her family. It really inspired me and is something I aim to do as well.
Later on there many others influenced and inspired me. One of them in particular is Amelie Lens, who I met in Singapore in 2016. To see her career shoot up within short time is incredible. The fact that she stays true to herself and is still so down to earth makes her even more likable. We still keep in touch and I really admire her.
Mendy with Nakadia (left) and X0809 (right)
Have you thought about adding the title of producer into your portfolio? Do you think it is necessary for a DJ to be a producer to fully succeed in the industry?
I am producing now and I can’t wait to show you the results very soon. I think it is definitely important to express yourself through your own music. It’s the most authentic way to represent your own style and sound. Also, there are way too many DJs nowadays and to stand out you need to find your own style.
You’re touring Europe end of summer, which countries are you looking forward to seeing the most?
I’m really looking forward to visit Italy as I’ve never been there and I can’t wait to explore the food and music scene. I am also happy to visit Switzerland again and this time I will have more time to explore the beautiful landscape of the country. Currently we are also working on some dates in Croatia as well so hopefully that will happen.
Since you’re an avid foodie, do you usually find the time to try out local dishes while on tour?
Always! I even take cooking classes with Cookly everywhere I travel to, to learn and experience the local food culture.
Based on some industry friends photos and your own, you’re one hell of a cook. What’s your favourite dish you like cooking for your friends?
For friends from outside of Thailand, I love to cook local dishes for them to experience real Thai food. For my Thai friends I love to cook dishes from different cuisines and cultures. I have no favourites because I love so many dishes from around the world and I keep learning more.
If you could have a dinner party with all your dance music heroes, who would be in the invitation list?
Dubfire because I notice he’s also a foodie, Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Ben Klock and Amelie Lens because I know that she wants me to cook for her again.
Find out how you can join in the fun at Mendy Indigo pres. Dark & Dirty Charity Edition here. Meanwhile, check out one of her stellar mixtapes below.